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How Smart Is Your Dog?

How Smart Is Your Dog?

June 9th

Compared with many other animals, your average dog seems like a genius. But how can you tell how smart an individual dog really is? Are Labradoodles smarter than average? And how smart is your dog?

Unfortunately there’s no SAT for dogs yet, but there are a few quick things we can look for to get a rough idea of how smart your pooch is.

Quickly adapting to new situations

Most dogs are doing long division in their spare time, but the ability of dogs to adapt to new situations rapidly is a calling card of intelligence.

Many dogs seem to instinctively “get” what we’re saying, and respond better to training of new commands.

Making an effort to communicate

We’ve all seen videos of dogs barking along to music or singing happy birthday, but that’s not what I mean.

Smart dogs are more likely to communicate their needs with their owners—such as going outside or being hungry—and are also able to communicate in a way that we can understand. The fact is that almost all dogs communicate their needs, but many aren’t successful in getting that message translated on our end.

Getting into trouble

Yes, being naughty can actually be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough mental stimulation. When dogs need physical or mental stimulation, they tend to get frustrated. That frustration can manifest as chewing, rooting through the trash, hiding your house keys…you name it.

Where exercise can provide physical stimulation, it’s also crucial to relieve boredom. Puzzles, hiding treats, and teaching new tricks are all ways to keep your smart pooch happy and stress-free.

Opening up those tricky treat dispensers in a flash

Dogs who can extract the delicious treats from those dispensers like Houdini can be frustrating for owners, but don’t despair—that could be a sign that your dog is just really smart!

Dogs who are good at solving problems can get through multi-step dispensers like child’s play, making some owners feel like they’d be better off just handing over the treats instead of watching their dog solve the puzzle in 2 seconds.

Getting top marks in cognition tests

OK, so it’s not quite the SAT, but there are cognition tests you can give your dog to find out what his or her “intelligence profile” might be. One such test is called Dognition, which divides pooches into 20 distinct profiles based on the results of 20 games you can play with your dog.

Dognition makes the assumption that ALL dogs are smart, which is true!

Unearthing hidden treats

Speaking of games, have you ever tried hiding a treat from your pup?

Play a game of shells with some dog treats as prizes, and find out how good your dog is at observation. Just take 3 cups or small bowls, and hide a treat under one of them. Move the cups around, and see if your dog can identify the right cup on the first try.

Solving problems

If you’ve ever moved a freshly baked cake to the kitchen counter and came back 30 minutes later to find it devoured, you have a dog on your hands who is great at solving problems…and creating more for you.

Solving problems means solving problems for the dog, and might not necessarily be one of your problems. But when a dog is able to find a way to get what he or she wants, that’s a sure sign of intelligence.

How smart are Labradoodles?

Two of the parent breeds of Australian Labradoodles—the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever—are considered by many to be two of the smartest dog breeds in the world.

They’ve definitely passed that intelligence down to their mixed Doodle offspring, and these brainy pups have a reputation for being easy to train and great at solving puzzles.

Labradoodles are far more than book smart, though—they also boast high emotional intelligence, and seem to bond with humans remarkably fast. Sometimes you might swear you were Dr. Doolittle with how easy it is to work and communicate with your Doodle!

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